The National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA announced that some earth organisms could temporarily survive on Mars.
Scientists from NASA and the German Aviation Center launched several fungal and bacterial organisms into the stratosphere as part of the MARSBOx experiment in 2019. The stratosphere, the second largest layer of the earth’s atmosphere above the ozone layer, has conditions very similar to the Red Planet. For this reason, it is described as a perfect place to send samples to understand if you can survive on Mars.
Microorganisms exposed to Mars-like conditions
Scientists have published an article about the findings of their experiment, where they describe how black mold spores survived the journey.
Of course the microorganism could only temporarily live on the Martian surface, but the researchers found that the spores could be revived after returning home.
The team said in a statement of the MASE-IM-9 bacterial cells inside the MARSBOx (Atmospheric Microbes for Radiation, Survival and Biological Results Experiment) aluminum container, there are two sample layers in the container. Stating that the lower one is protected from radiation, the researchers say that it can separate the effects of radiation from the effects of other environmental conditions.
In the experiment, a NASA balloon carried the container into the stratosphere. Here the specimens were exposed to Mars-like conditions and exposed to a thousand times more UV radiation than levels that caused sunburn.
Katharina Siems, a team member from the German Aeronautics and Space Center, who stated what the Aspergillus niger, who survived the journey, meant for space travel, says:
“With crewed long-term missions to Mars, we need to know how human-related microorganisms will survive on the Red Planet, as some may pose a health risk to astronauts. Additionally, some microbes can be invaluable for space exploration. ”
Siems also states that experiments such as the MARSBOx mission are “a truly important way to help us discover all the effects of space travel on microbial life and how we can channel that knowledge into amazing space exploration.”